Two kids from Chennaiyin FC grassroots program – G Balaji and H Gulab – have been awarded the Reliance Foundation Young Champs scholarship.
Both Balaji and Gulab were part of the final 17 from Chennaiyin FC that made it to the final 200 of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs selection camp in Mumbai.
Following a week-long final trials in Mumbai, which was overseen by Piet Hubers, Technical Director of the ISL Grassroots Programme and Marcus Vaessen, Head Coach, RFYC Programme, eventually the duo from Chennai made it to the final 24 of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs scholarships and were awarded in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Starting next month, Balaji and Gulab along with the 22 other awardees will be groomed through exposure to global best practices and training modules to take on the mantle of next generation professional Indian footballers.
Gulab, who hails from Chetpet, is a central midfielder and was selected in the under-13 category. He was first spotted by Chennaiyin FC coaches in the grassroots festival at his school, MCC Higher Secondary School.
Balaji, who comes from Minjur, is a left winger and was selected in the under-12 category. His first step towards the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Scholarships was taken at a grassroots festival in his school, ANM High School.
“Both are very talented boys and interestingly both are huge admirers of Cristiano Ronaldo. We at Chennaiyin FC worked very hard on them and they responded with great effort. We are very proud to see them get into the final 24.
“Gulab is a natural athlete with great stamina and is capable of passing with both feet from the middle of the park. Balaji is a natural left-footed player and is very good with crossing. Both have immense potential and will get great exposure at the Reliance Foundation Young Champs. We wish them the very best,” said Chennaiyin FC’s technical director of grassroots Vivek Nagul.
School: ANM High School, Chennai
Position: Left Winger
School: MCC Higher Secondary School, Chennai
Position: Central Midfielder